Montclair Art Museum

Montclair, NJ



Patterson Sims Appointed Director of the Montclair Art Museum


The Board of Trustees of the Montclair Art Museum announced June 28, 2001 that Patterson Sims has been appointed the Museum's director beginning in mid-September. The appointment comes during a period of major expansion of the 87-year old institution which will open a new wing in mid-November. Sims succeeds Ellen S. Harris, who left the top staff position in August of last year. Sims becomes the Museum's eighth director, responsible for the administration of a $3.6 million annual operating budget and 22 full-time staff members.

Patterson Sims, who is 53 and resides in New York City, was selected following a national search. His distinguished career as a museum professional includes serving since 1996 as Deputy Director for Education and Research Support at The Museum of Modern Art, in New York. Prior to this, he was Associate Director for Art and Exhibitions and Curator of Modern Art at the Seattle Art Museum between 1987 and 1996, and was the first curator designated to oversee the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, where he worked from 1976 to 1987. Mr. Sims began his career as Assistant Director of O.K. Harris Works of Art, in the then newly-developing arts district of Soho, in 1969. (left: Patterson Sims. Photo courtesy of Montclair Art Museum )

Speaking on behalf of the entire Board, Board President Nathaniel C. Harris, Jr. said, "Patterson Sims has a wide knowledge of American art and a history of enlightened administrative leadership, qualities that make him particularly appropriate to lead the Montclair Art Museum at this critical time in the institution's history."

Sims noted, "I am delighted to be coming to the Montclair Art Museum. The focus and quality of the collection and exhibition program, the strength of the staff, the expanded facility, and the community of Montclair make this position very appealing to me and my family."

Sims was the unanimous choice of the search committee, and the entire Board of Trustees has approved the selection. The Museum's search committee was headed by Trustees Marianne Smith, of Montclair, and Curtis Schade, of Glen Ridge. Committee members included Bob Constable and Lynn Glasser of Montclair, Mr. Harris, of West Orange, former Board President Adrian Shelby, of Verona, Board Secretary Linda Sterling, and Trustees David Stith and Frank Walter, all of Montclair.

At The Museum of Modern Art, Sims directed the Education Department and oversaw the Library and Museum Archives. During his first years at MoMA he supervised the Publications Department and directed for four years the development of the Museum's website and public kiosk projects. Sims organized many exhibitions for the Seattle Art Museum including Willem de Kooning in Seattle, Fred Wilson -- The Museum: Mixed Metaphors, Mark Tansey: Art and Source, and an exhibition of the drawings of Jasper Johns. Among numerous exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Sims organized surveys of the work of Claire Zeisler, Viola Frey, Ellsworth Kelly's sculpture, Jan Matulka, and John Storrs, as well as many touring exhibitions focused on aspects of that museum's permanent collection, including Figure as Subject: The Revival of Figuration Since 1975 (1988), Minimalism to Expressionism: Painting and Sculpture since 1965 (1983) and Tradition and Modernism in American Art: 1900-1925 (1978). He was also co-curator of four Whitney Biennial exhibitions.

Mr. Sims has written numerous exhibition catalogues and smaller publications and has lectured widely on art in the U.S. and abroad. Sims serves on several advisory boards, among them Independent Curators International, The Fabric Workshop, The Studio in a School Association, and Sound Portraits Productions. He is on the Modern Art Advisory Panel of the Internal Revenue Service. Sims is married to Katy Homans, a graphic designer specializing in art books. They have two children.

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 5/28/11

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